Persona fans and JRPG enthusiasts were elated to learn that Persona 3, along with Persona 4 and Persona 5, will finally break away from PlayStation console exclusivity by releasing on the Xbox Series X/S as well as PC and PlayStation 5. Persona fans felt it was only a matter of time before these Persona games made their way elsewhere after Persona 4 Golden was released for PC in 2020.
While Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal were expected to be the P4 and P5 representatives in the event Persona went multi-platform, questions loomed over which version of P3 would be chosen. P3 is one of the most popular entry points to the Persona series and saw two updated versions in Persona 3 FES, short for “festival,” for the PlayStation 2 and Persona 3 Portable for the PlayStation Portable. Atlus ultimately selected P3P to be the P3 representative, which begs the question: What benefits does P3P have over FES, and what will fans be missing out on by not being able to play FES?
Updated on January 24, 2023, by Michael Colwander: Persona 3 Portable is now out for modern consoles. With that comes a handful of quality-of-life improvements as well as continual questions about Persona 3 Portable vs. FES. The list of Persona 3 Portable’s differences from FES continues to grow.
10 The New P3P Remaster Has High-Definition Visuals & Many Localization Options
The most striking difference between P3P and FES now is the visual resolution upgrade P3P received in its 2023 remaster. P3P runs on 1080p and 60fps on most platforms. It also supports 4K resolution and 120fps on Xbox Series X/S and PC. This is a huge upgrade from its PSP version as well as FES.
P3P‘s remaster also introduces a slew of localization options for languages beyond English and Japanese including French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. Dual audio is also supported in this new release, making P3 more accessible and approachable than ever.
9 P3 Now Has Trophies And Achievements Thanks To P3P
In a rite of passage for any old game that has received a remaster, P3P now has a collection of trophies and achievements for players to earn. This is the first iteration of P3 to receive a trophy list. There have been P3-related trophies and achievements in the past in the spinoff Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and P3‘s inclusion in Persona 4 Arena.
The P3P achievement list will look familiar to anyone who has gone for 100% in P4G and P5R. Players will need to max out their Social Links, rank high in school exams, fill out the Persona compendium, and so on. Players will need to complete the game as both the male and female protagonists, which would be necessary for maxing out every Social Link, anyway.
8 Anime Cutscenes Are A Glaring Omission From P3P
The biggest difference between the two versions of P3 can be seen right when a new playthrough begins. P3P does not have any of the anime cutscenes the original P3 and FES had. Moments from cutscenes are played out through in-game dialog or still shots instead. This can result in significant moments in what is a great JRPG story feeling underwhelming by comparison.
P3P players can still view each anime cutscene on Youtube, and there are online guides that lay out when each cutscene should be watched, but that is still immersion-breaking. This remains unchanged for the latest P3P remaster, which was a disappointment for Persona fans.
7 Overworld Navigation Is Much More Limited In P3P
PSP’s hardware limitations can be felt in the overworld navigation. In FES, navigating the world of Gekkoukan High School and the greater Tatsumi Port Island is similar to P4 and P5 with an explorable 3D world.
In P3P, however, navigating the world is done by menus. Each area is depicted on a 2D plane, and to interact with a person or object, the player must move a cursor over it and click. This only applies to the daily life of the overworld and not dungeons, which are still fully rendered in 3D outside the entrance to Tartarus.
6 Players & Characters Won’t Be Getting Tired Of Tartarus In P3P
Tartarus acts as P3‘s central dungeon. Tartarus only appears during the Dark Hour, which occurs at 12:00 A.M. and lasts for one hour. The protagonist and their friends, collectively members of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES), spend each Dark Hour exploring the many procedurally generated floors of Tartarus.
The most significant change to Tartarus is the Tired status. In P3 and FES, party members would grow increasingly tired throughout Tartarus exploration. The more tired a party member gets, the more it negatively affects them in battle. In P3P, a character’s tired status changes when leaving Tartarus. The only thing players need to worry about is ensuring characters are well-rested before exploring Tartarus again.
5 FES & P3P Added More Difficulty Settings
P3 originally launched with two difficulty settings: Easy and Normal. For Easy difficulty, enemy damage is decreased. Players also used to start with 10 Plumes of Dusk, which revive the party in the event of a game over. However, Plumes of Dusk were removed from the recent console remaster and replaced with the ability to simply retry from the start of the battle or the start of that respective floor an unlimited number of times. Difficulty settings can also be changed at any time in this new remaster, and a quick save feature was added.
FES added another difficulty setting in Hard, which increases enemy damage from Normal and the likelihood that enemies start a fight with an “Enemy Advantage.” P3P added two more difficulty settings in Beginner and Maniac. Beginner gives players 30 Plumes of Dusk on top of decreased enemy damage from Easy. Maniac increases enemy damage, and Enemy Advantage chances from Hard, and players are required to start fresh without carrying anything over from a previous playthrough.
4 Players Can Control Party Members In P3P
One of P3P’s best changes over FES was the ability to fully control party members in battle. Previously, the player could only control the main character while party members operated independently. The player could set Tactics in battle such as “Conserve SP” or “Heal/Support,” and the party A.I. will try to accommodate. P3P added the “Direct” Tactic, which is how players can gain control of that party member.
Even with Tactics, party member A.I. in P3 and FES would lead to frustrating scenarios like Mitsuru excessively using the move Marin Karin, even during inopportune and ineffective times. The Mitsuro A.I.’s obsessive use of Marin Karin would lead to a popular meme within the Persona fanbase.
3 P3P Also Takes Some Cues From P4
Being able to control party members in P3P is a huge change from FES, but that’s not the only change to the battle system. P3P carries over some gameplay changes from P4, such as how the “1 More” system works, which grants an attacking character an extra turn if they knock down an enemy often by exploiting an enemy’s weakness, and the ability to perform co-op follow-up moves.
P3P also allows party members to take a fatal blow if the protagonist would otherwise die. Party members who were knocked down are able to perform actions as soon as they stand up as opposed to their turn ending. Lastly, the “Wait” action was changed to “Defend,” which allows a character to skip their turn, but take less damage when hit as opposed to “Wait.”
2 Female Protagonist Provides A Fresh Take On P3
What truly sets P3P apart from FES is the inclusion of a female protagonist. At the start of each playthrough, the player can select between a male and a female protagonist. While the male protagonist is still the canon story path of P3, it’s great to have the option.
The female protagonist playthrough isn’t a direct 1:1 of the male protagonist playthrough. Instead, the female protagonist has a different selection of Social Links, including the adorable dog, Koromaru. The female protagonist also has different romance options as well as exclusive scenes. One of those exclusive scenes contains a cameo from a party member of P4.
1 “The Answer” & “Vision Quest” Each Provide Postgame Content To P3
The most significant omission from P3P is the biggest appeal of FES: “The Answer.” “The Answer” is an additional story campaign that takes place after the bittersweet ending of P3 starring Aigis. “The Answer” is known for its brutal difficulty, but it’s well worth it to experience the full story of P3.
While P3P doesn’t have “The Answer,” it does have a post-game mode known as “Vision Quest.” “Vision Quest” allows players to fight more difficult versions of past bosses. Defeating all of these bosses unlocks a secret boss fight in Margaret, Igor’s attendant in P4.
NEXT: 9 Persona 5 Characters With The Most Development
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